Looking to avoid last year’s miscommunication that left 200 juniors without on-campus housing in mid-March, the Housing Advisory Council has devised a housing eligibility process that will let sophomores and juniors find out before Thanksgiving if they will have on-campus housing next year.

The housing eligibility process will allow the university to gauge demand for the nearly 5,100 on-campus beds.

“This way, rising seniors will know if they won’t receive a fourth year on-campus and rising juniors will know if they have to wait until their senior year to live on-campus,” Karen Frank, vice president for university facilities and student housing, said.

Top priority will be awarded to those rising seniors who did not receive on-campus housing this year. Rising sophomores are guaranteed housing for next year. For all others, it will be a random determination.

Students will enter housing eligibility individually as opposed to a prearranged group of roommates. In years past, all students except incoming freshmen were allowed to choose roommates and enter the lottery together as a group. This year, only students who receive housing eligibility will be allowed to form groups for the spring housing selection. Students who do not receive on-campus housing will be put on a waitlist.

Frank said the housing survey is for the benefit of students, not the Housing Department, so that students anxious about the uncertainty will have plenty of time to find off-campus housing, if necessary.

“Just as we’ve found over this year, there are quite a few houses with `For Rent’ signs up, so having space won’t be an issue as much as being in a prime location,” she said.

Students studying abroad in the fall will not need to complete the housing eligibility process, as more beds are available during the spring semester, when more students go overseas.

Students who do receive on-campus housing will have three weeks to accept or decline the offer, Ed Shelleby (COL ’04), GUSA housing and facilities chair, said. Students who choose to move off campus after accepting on-campus housing will have used up one year of housing.

Students will apply for both housing eligibility and the spring housing selection online this year.

The online housing selection will allow students access to a database showing all the available housing options 30 minutes before making their choice. Students will have a 60-second window to make a choice and then 72 hours to sign the occupancy agreement form.

As in past years, apartments and townhouses, singles and residence halls will each have their own selection period.

Frank said that the 123 triples in the Southwest Quad were for this year only and will be returned to doubles next year.

“We have decided to use these buildings as they are originally designed,” she said. “We made the decision to have triples because of an unprecedented demand for on-campus housing.”

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